SYDNEY, March 12 — Australia’s prime minister held talks with Elon Musk today after the US innovator offered to solve the energy crisis plaguing a southern region in a hundred days — or install the technology free.
Musk, the entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla, made the pledge in response to power woes in South Australia, which was last year hit by a state-wide blackout after severe winds from an “unprecedented” storm tore transmission towers from the ground.
In a Twitter exchange on Friday with Australian software startup Atlassian’s co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Musk said he could solve the energy issue with a battery farm.
“Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?” Musk wrote to Cannon-Brookes, who had earlier said he could get financing for the plan.
The conversation piqued the interest of the Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull, who on Sunday said he had spoken to Musk and had “a great in depth discussion today about energy storage and its role in delivering affordable, reliable electricity”.
It is understood their conversation lasted almost an hour and that the pair would continue their talks about energy storage over the next few months.
Musk replied that it was “very exciting to discuss the future of electricity. Renewables + storage arguably biggest disruption since DC to AC”.
South Africa-born Musk was a founder of payments company PayPal, electric carmaker Tesla Motors and SpaceX, maker and launcher of rockets and spacecraft. He is also chairman of SolarCity, a solar panel installer recently bought by Tesla.
He has envisaged Tesla as a company that can help reduce emissions by not only selling people electric cars, but also generating and storing the solar energy that powers them.
Australia is one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters, due to its heavy use of coal-fired power. — AFP